How GetSmarter Accelerated Business Decisions with a Single View across a Rapidly Evolving Infrastructure
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Companies cannot make fast, effective business decisions if each department has a slightly different view of customers, products, and other core entities. But gaining a single, unified view is especially challenging when companies engage in rapid evolution, and they introduce new systems while still relying on legacy systems.

GetSmarter’s Rapid Growth

This was the case for GetSmarter, a fast-growing digital education company based in Cape Town and London that was recently acquired by US-based 2U. GetSmarter was experiencing rapid growth due to the popularity of its online courses, which the company delivered with highly personalized customer service. Schoeman Loubser, GetSmarter’s information architect, explains the challenge: “Due to the rapid growth of the company, it has become quite difficult for us to enhance our current, monolithic CRM architecture from a development perspective. We needed to be able to expose the data to form a single view of a data entity, such as the student.”

A Streamlined Data Architecture

GetSmarter implemented a microservices architecture working in tandem with the Denodo Platform, to streamline data access across the organization. With the Denodo Platform in place, GetSmarter could provide data to stakeholders from any microservice or legacy system, in real time, without causing any disruption in the business flow. Not only did the new architecture provide the single view of core entities, it also enabled GetSmarter to migrate data from legacy systems behind the scenes, without users being aware of the change.

The new architecture also facilitated GetSmarter’s ability to comply with regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). “Compliance was one of our primary drivers,” says Loubser, “so wanted to build our data layer with compliance in mind.”

The Further Benefits of Data Virtualization

Because the Denodo Platform establishes a layer above GetSmarter’s different data sources, it facilitated the company’s effort to improve inter-departmental business flows by maintaining a set of common definitions. “We wanted to expose data to business users so that there is no doubt as to what a particular business entity is,” says Loubser. “So that the finance department would not argue with the marketing department as to what is a ‘registration’, or what is a ‘lead’.”

For GetSmarter, a large part of the decision to go with the Denodo Platform ultimately came down to ease-of-implementation, and the agility that this affords. “We selected the Denodo Platform because it was easy for us to spin up a server in the AWS marketplace, for a proof-of-concept of the Denodo Platform as a data virtualization tool,” says Loubser. “We were quickly able to provide value outside of the microservices architecture, virtualizing other sources and exposing those to other systems. It was relatively easy to implement data virtualization with a limited understanding of data virtualization.”

Watch as Schoeman Loubser tells the story of GetSmarter’s transformation:

For more information about GetSmarter’s use of data virtualization, read their case study. To learn more about how forward-thinking companies are leveraging data virtualization across numerous industries, see all Denodo case studies.

Saptarshi Sengupta